While on The Bill Simmons Podcast, Kevin Durant praised Shai Gilgeous-Alexander of the LA Clippers saying he’s one of the best young guys he has seen.
It hasn’t taken long for the rest of the league to become as enamored with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander as LA Clippers fans are. Players around the league are beginning to take notice too, including Kevin Durant who quickly named SGA as the young player that had already made an impression on him early in the season.
Durant, who was appearing on The Bill Simmons Podcast for the sixth time, cited Gilgeous-Alexander’s ability to knock down the mid-range and his high release point being difficult for opposing point guards to defend against. KD also was impressed with SGA’s length, likely in part due to their similar builds.
The Clippers have only faced Golden State once this season, beating them 121-116. In that victory, Gilgeous-Alexander scored 18 points. At one point in the third quarter, he rattled off six straight for the Clips.
Although SGA may not be in the Rookie of the Year conversation, he still is putting up respectable numbers. Among rookies, he currently ranks 9th in points per game (10.6), 4th in assists (3.0), 5th in steals (1.0) and surprisingly 11th in blocks (0.7).
The timing of Durant’s comments are interesting to say the least. Although he likely didn’t know it was coming, ESPN published an article on how both he and Kawhi Leonard are the Clippers top targets next summer.
LA hasn’t been too secretive with their efforts to attract the two. Jerry West is the obvious piece, having already lured Kevin Durant from a new team when he signed with the Warriors. Still, the team has done other little things from hiring Lee Jenkins to having Bill Russell sit next to owner Steve Ballmer during the Warriors visit.
Perhaps though, having Shai Gilgeous-Alexander will end up being their main draw for KD. The team took the point guard knowing they would need a future leader but there is no way they could have known he could end up being the type of prospect that veterans would be excited for.
It might end up being a serendipitous moment (which this franchise does not have a lot of) if KD signs with the team this summer. Regardless, it is pretty cool to see that Durant loves Shai as much as Clipper Nation does.